Guardian in Bratislava
- The British newspaper Guardian says today, Friday, that now is a good
time to visit Bratislava, the "vibrant capital of one of the most
progressive countries in Central Europe." The text is below.
votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
x x x
Big night out -- Bratislava: Super Brat
Ian McCurrach does the rounds in Slovakia's capital
There's never been a better time to visit Bratislava. It's been 15
years since the velvet revolution, more than 10 years since Slovakia
became independent and nearly a year since the country joined the EU.
The vibrant capital of one of the most progressive countries in
central Europe is only an hour away from Vienna, two from Budapest
and three from Prague, guaranteeing that the "little big town", as
the locals call it, is a hot spot with plenty of nightlife to match.
The traffic-free "korzo" zone is crammed with lively cafes and bars
serving excellent local beers such as Zlaty Bazant, Smadny Mnich and
Saris. Venturska, Michalska and Sedlarska streets are the most
popular. Listen to live musicians in the Jazz Cafe, Venturska 5, then
move on to El Diablo, Sedlarska 6, where you can soak up the alcohol
with spicy Tex-Mex. Then join the arty crowd in Cafe Verne,
Hiviezdoslavovo Square 18, and check out Cafe De Zwaan, Panska 7,
which serves a good selection of European beers.
Housed in the Powder Bastion, one of Bratislava's oldest buildings,
Prasna Basta, Zamocnicka 11 (-421 2 5443 4957, around $15 per head),
serves good Slovak fare such as potato pancakes with sauerkraut and
smoked pork. To dine in smart surroundings, try the great steaks at
Le Monde, Venturska 1 (-421 2 5441 5411, around $55 per head). Pasta
rules the Italian menu at Medusa, Michalska 21 (-421 2 5465 7344,
around $28 per head).
The beautifully restored Slovak National Theatre <www.snd.sk>, dates
back to 1776 and offers drama, ballet and opera. Don Giovanni, The
Magic Flute, La Sylphide and Swan Lake are the big draws of the
forthcoming season (tickets from $13). On the same square is the
Redoute concert hall, home of the Slovak Philharmonic
<www.filharm.sk>, one of the best orchestras in central Europe. Daily
classical concerts cost from $9.
The coolest all-night club is Spojka, Presernova 4, where top Euro
DJs play house music on Friday and Saturday nights. For something
more extreme, try Ucko, Sloboda 1, housed in an old bunker under the
castle hill, where techno and drum and bass rule. Another
bunker-club, Duna, features hip-hop, rock and goth parties. The
Buddha Bar, Medena 16, plays funky nujazz beats nightly.
Late night cheap eats such as goulash and dumplings can be found at
the 24-hour diner, Hviezda, Kollarovo Square 1.
Take a stroll through the old town's medieval streets -- a curious
mix of buildings from the Hapsburg and communist eras.
Rest your head
The Radisson SAS Carlton Hotel <www.bratislava.radissonsas.com> looks
like Buckingham Palace and is the best address in town. Doubles from
£$115 per night, with breakfast. Bratislava boasts several boatels
moored on the Danube. Boatel Fairway (-421 2 5441 2080,
<www.fairway.sk> offers doubles from $55, with breakfast.
Bring it home
Borovicka, the local juniper brandy, tastes similar to dry gin, at $6
a bottle. For collectors' CDs and vinyl drop into Nepal, Zamocnicka